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Smile your way to new beginnings

Ann James, founder of Sea Change - thinking space for women who are in progress - shares how a smile can help support our resolutions

by Psychologies

Hello again. Let’s begin with a reminder of my January message to you, in the words of a favourite poet:

In out-of-the-way places of the heart,

Where your thoughts never think to wander,

This beginning has been quietly forming,

Waiting until you were ready to emerge.

(For a New Beginning, by John O’Donohue)

What beginnings have you started to form over the last month?

Perhaps you tried to make some changes, then settled back into the comfort of your tried and tested ‘old ways’. That’s ok – it’s an important message to yourself that perhaps you need to adjust your strategy and have another go.

Most of us know the frustrations of being all fired up to eat better / exercise more / have a clear out / get more sleep / change jobs / tackle a tricky relationship... (enter your own words here, you get the gist), only to feel our commitment fade after that initial burst of determination.

We have a saying in our house: ‘Keep going, Little Lion’.

Those words come from a favourite childhood storybook, and they somehow capture that energy we can rekindle, even when we may have gone a bit adrift. And believe me, if you whisper those words to yourself, you will SMILE.

A smile tells our brains and our body that we feel good. Just search the words ‘smile endorphins’ – this is not just a fluke. The particular arrangement of the facial muscles that we need to organise in order to create a smile has a surprising effect:  our constitution changes with the release of feel-good endorphins, making us feel happier and reducing stress. And, guess what? this works even if it’s a ‘fake smile’.

So simply by smiling when you feel least like doing so, chances are you’ll feel better.

That has to help us get back on track!  Back to the poem:

Then, the delight when your courage kindled,

And out you stepped onto new ground,

Your eyes young again with energy and dream,

A path of plenitude opening before you.

(For a New Beginning, by John O’Donohue)

 

Keep smiling. See you in March.

(Ann James, Founder, Sea Change, www.sea-change.me)

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